When it comes to credit reports, one of the most frequently asked questions is: How long does information stay on my Equifax credit report? The answer is that it depends on the type of information and whether it’s considered “positive” or “negative.”
Generally speaking, negative information such as late or missed payments, accounts that have been sent to collection agencies, accounts not being paid as agreed, or bankruptcies stays on credit reports for approximately seven years. Here is a breakdown of some the different types of “negative” information and how long you can expect the information to be on your Equifax credit report:
- Late payments remain on a credit report for up to seven years from the original delinquency date -- the date of the missed payment. The late payment remains on your Equifax credit report even if you pay the past-due balance. For instance, if you had a late payment in April 2011, the late payment would come off your Equifax credit report April 2018, seven years after the date of the missed payment.
- Collection or charged-off accounts: If you have a late payment and don’t pay the past-due balance, the account could eventually be charged off by the original lender and assigned to a collection agency. If that happens, the entire collection account would be removed seven years from the date your first missed payment was reported to Equifax by your lender. If you pay the collection account before the seven-year period is up, it remains on your Equifax credit report, but the account may have less of an impact on your Equifax credit score.
- Bankruptcy public records stay on your Equifax credit report from seven to 10 years, depending on the type of bankruptcy.
- Other negative accounts, such as repossessions, can also stay on your report for up to seven years from the date of the first missed payment that led to the negative status. Negative accounts can also include foreclosures, and short sales or a deed in lieu of a foreclosure if reported in a negative status.
Here are some examples of "positive" information and how long it stays on your Equifax credit report :
- Active accounts paid as agreed. Active credit accounts that are paid as agreed remain on your Equifax credit report as long as the account is open and the lender is reporting it.
- Closed accounts paid as agreed. If the last status of the account is reported by the lender as paid as agreed, the account would stay on your Equifax credit report for up to 10 years from the date it was reported by the lender as closed to Equifax.
Lastly, hard inquiries result when a potential lender, creditor or service provider requests a copy of your Equifax credit report in response to a request for credit or certain services. These can remain on your Equifax credit report for up to two years.
Regularly checking your Equifax credit report is an important step to ensure your information is accurate and complete, and confirm that any negative information falls off after the appropriate time period. You can order one free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.